COVID-19 Business Support Information

Important information and resources

The impacts of COVID-19 on our economy and community have been significant.  Here are some resources that can support your business though this challenging time.

 

COVID-19 small business support video - transcript available here

 

Current guidelines for business owners and proprietors

We understand this is a very difficult time for all Nillumbik businesses and residents.  The Federal and Victorian governments have announced new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).                         

Stage 3 Restrictions

**The State of Emergency declared last month has been extended until midnight 11 May 2020 to continue the measures designed to ‘flatten the curve’ of coronavirus and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus.

In addition to the stage 2 restrictions, The Australian Government has now put in place stage 3 restrictions. These changes include restrictions on gatherings to no more than 2 people except for members of your immediate household and for work and education. Playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms are now closed. If people breach these directions, they face on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses. 

The Government advises Victorians - there are only 4 reasons to be out:

  • shopping for what you need - food and essential supplies
  • medical care or compassionate needs
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  • work and study if you can't work or learn remotely 


What activities must cease?

Cafés and food courts          

All cafés and food courts must stop providing table service, but may continue to offer delivery and takeaway.

Cafes and canteens may continue to operate at:

  • Hospitals
  • Care homes or schools
  • Prisons and military bases
  • Workplaces, although only as a takeaway service

Food services for the homeless can continue without restriction.

Retail and commercial premises

The following business activities must stop now:

  • Auction houses
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections, except for private inspections by appointment
  • Markets, whether indoor or outdoor, unless a food market. If the market has non-food stalls, these non-food stalls must close.

Beauty and personal care services

Hairdressers, barber shops and hair salons may continue to operate, ensuring no more than 1 person for every 4 square metres of space.

All other personal care services where there is close contact for a prolonged period must cease, including:

  • Beauty therapy, spray-tanning, waxing and nail salons
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Spas and massage parlours

Allied health services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry are not required to close. 

Entertainment venues

The following entertainment venues where groups of people may come in close contact for extended periods must close:

  • cinemas and theatres
  • nightclubs
  • casinos, gaming or gambling venues
  • adult entertainment premises such as strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues
  • concert venues
  • arenas, auditoriums and stadiums where performances are held, except where a small group performs to an online audience via live-streaming or similar technology
  • amusement parks and arcades
  • children’s play centres, both indoor and outdoor.

Community and recreation centres

These venues must close:

  • health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities
  • social sporting-based activities
  • swimming pools, both public and shared
  • saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
  • community and recreation centres. These facilities may remain open for the purposes of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.

Boot camps and personal training services can continue only if they are outdoor, and then only up to a maximum of 10 people at any one session, ensuring no more than 1 person for every 4 square metres of space.

Outdoor recreation

The following facilities must close, except where the accommodation is for the purposes of respite, for victims of family violence, other vulnerable groups or for care purposes. This includes:

  • caravan and camping parks, except where people live there permanently or as an interim abode where the primary residence is not available.

Non-residential institutions

These venues must close:

  • zoos, petting zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks, except for the maintenance, care or rescue of animals
  • museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • galleries, libraries, toy libraries
  • community centres, youth centres and community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs). These facilities may remain open for the purposes of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services
  • local government non-essential facilities and services (such as libraries and pools).

Places of worship

All places of worship must close, except for the conduct of weddings and funerals in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Weddings may be held in places of worship (or other venues), but only with the couple, celebrant and maximum of two witnesses in attendance.
  • Funerals may be held in places of worship, funeral parlours or other venues, with a maximum of ten mourners in attendance.

More information

For more information on these restrictions, see the Premier's statement and our Closures and restrictions questions and answers.

Please refer to Business Victoria website https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/illness-and-business-management-plan/coronavirus-business-support

For all businesses not subject to restricted trading, it is recommended that the DHHS recommends adhering to measures to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). More information can be found here 


Business grants, information, advice and support

The increased instant asset write-off

Under normal circumstances, individual assets less than $30,000 are eligible for the instant asset write off. The Government has lifted this threshold to $150,000 for assets that are either installed or ready for first use by 30 June 2020.  Read more here 

Backing Business Investment (BBI)

A time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset's cost. Learn more about it here  

Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Guarantee Scheme

This will provide businesses with funding to meet immediate cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders' willingness and ability to provide credit. Businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. Learn more about the scheme here  

Tax support

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is providing relief for some tax obligations for businesses affected by the outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. More information can be found here  

Victorian Government's NEW Business Support Fund

Firms are eligible for $10,000 if they:

  • employ staff
  • are highly impacted by COVID-19 business restrictions
  • have a turnover of more than $75,000
  • have payroll of less than $650,000

More details about eligibility and guidelines on how to apply can be found here   

COVID19 Manufacturer Response Register Portal

The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC)'s portal for Australian manufacturing, component suppliers and skilled design, engineering and manufacturing experts enables manufacturers to register their interest and core competencies in support of the national response to COVID-19.  Click here for further information or to register.

Boosting Female Founders Initiative

Boosting Female Founders (BBF) aims to help female founders to access early stage capital to grow their start-ups in national and international markers. The program will provide grants between $25,000 and $400,000 on a co-contribution basis to successful applicants and run over 3 years. The start-up must be at least 50% women owned (equity or shares) and at least 50% of the founding team or senior managers must be women.
See the program guidelines for eligibility criteria, more information and how to submit your EOI here.

JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Announcement

Businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees through the JobKeeper payment. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over.
More information can be found here 

Assistance to help pay wages of Apprentices or Trainees

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of  50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). For more information and to apply click here 

FREE Business Resilience program

Australian Small Business Advisory Services Digital Solutions (ASBAS) have launched a program designed to assist Victorian small businesses affected by COVID-19. Support includes free access to virtual mentoring, online workshops, and resources.

Businesses will need to fit the following criteria to partake in this program:

  • Victorian For-Profit Business
  • Active ABN
  • Under 20 Employees

You can visit their mentor page and workshop page for more information, or email getsupport@melbourneinnovation.com.au for enquiries regarding the Business Resilience program. 

This Federal Government funded program is aimed at increasing the digital capabilities of Small Businesses in Australia. It accomplishes this by offering low cost, easy to understand workshops (including face to face when able), webinars, and advisory services directly to small business owners. 

Register here 

FREE Digital Solutions Mentoring

Access 2 hours of one-on-one mentoring to help digitise your business. Digital Solutions Mentoring is a program for Small Businesses in Victoria and Nillumbik Shire Council are pleased to offer this fully subsidised program for small businesses in Nillumbik. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Active Victorian ABN
  • 19 or less employees
  • For profit business

Use promotional code NILLUMBIK20 to secure your fully subsidised session. 

More information and register here 


A full suite of free educational opportunities to assist businesses are available here


Commercial tennancies relief scheme

The Victorian Government announced recently a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

For commercial tenants and landlords, the scheme will provide:

  • A six-month moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions from 29 March 2020 for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprise with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to COVID-19
  • Freeze on rent increases during the moratorium for commercial tenants
  • A rental payment waiver or deferral proportionate to commercial tenants' income reduction due to COVID-19, to be negotiated between tenant and landlord
  • A mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations

The Victorian Government will also provide land tax relief to commercial landlords that provide rent relief to their tenants, provided:

  • The tenant's annual turnover doesn't exceed $50 million
  • Is an eligible business in the Commonwealth's JobKeeper program
  • Is suffering financial stress or hardship as a result of the pandemic

The Victorian Government will also provide land tax relief to residential landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants. 

 More Information can be found here 

Free communication tools for business

Council support for food businesses

Council has implemented some strategies to assist food businesses during this time.

Food businesses that are experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 can apply in writing to health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au to receive a 30 per cent refund of this year’s registration (including Streatrader fees).

Food businesses currently registered as a Class 3 business can upgrade to Class 2 activity for no additional cost, however you will still need to apply to Council’s Environmental Health team.

Fees for A-frames and footpath furniture will be waived.

For enquiries regarding these local law exemptions please email our Community Safety team at nillumbik@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or phone 9433 3231.

Enquiries regarding the activity and registration of food businesses can be made to the Environmental Health team at health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or call 9433 3340.


Business and Tourism Associations

The following business and tourism associations are independent groups of businesses who work together to represent and achieve the needs of local traders and the wider business community.

Council works in partnership with three traders association within the Shire which are run by trader committees.

These committees organise marketing campaigns, events and activities which benefit the interests of local traders, and are accountable to its members. 

Nillumbik Tourism and Business

Nillumbik Tourism and Business is a regional organisation for local business providing networking, professional development and advocacy.

President Richard Dovile
0419 178 275
rdoville@bigpond.net.au
info@ntb.org.au
www.ntb.org.au

Hurstbridge Traders Association

President Ian Mason

0418 597 176

ian@mwmrealestate.com.au 

www.hurstbridgevillage.com.au

Diamond Creek Traders Association

President Claire Nolle
Vice President Paige O'Connor

Marketing Coordinator Anna Henderson & Yvette Standfield
0417 580 009

secretary@diamondcreekshopping.com.au

www.diamondcreekshopping.com.au

Eltham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

President Michael Williams
(03) 9439 7568

thompsonsmc@gmail.com

www.elthamtown.com/

Economic Development Advisory Committee

The Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) provides a formal mechanism for Council to consult with key stakeholders to seek specialist advice on economic development issues, initiatives, policies and strategies. More information here.


Other resources and useful links

Support and relief from service providers

Momentum EnergyOrigin EnergyAGL and Vodaphone are just a few examples of service providers who are offering relief to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact your service providers directly to find out if they are offering any form of relief or support for business at this time. 

Mental Health Support

If you know of anyone that you are concerned about in relation to their mental wellbeing, some of the supporting groups are:

  • Salvation Army (Disasters and emergnecy support) - phone 1300 662 217
  • Lifeline (Mental health and wellbeing) - phone 13 11 14
  • Beyondblue (Mental health and wellbeing) - phone 1300 224 636
  • Headspace (Youth mental health and wellbeing) - phone 1800 650 890
State and Federal Government initiatives

Information on assistance packages that your business may be eligible for can be found here

Reduce your Risk of Coronavirus

Click here to learn simple steps to reducing your risk of Coronavirus 

More links